Colonial Copper - 1787 Nova Eborac (New York) Cent - Brasher & Bailey

Discussion in 'US Coins Forum' started by MIGuy, Feb 27, 2023.

  1. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    I picked up another bargain piece for my low grade Colonial Copper set - this time it's a 1787 Nova Eborac Copper Cent, Seated Figure Left variety (there are 4 varieties) in a PCGS slab graded VG08. I love the history of these colonial coppers - and here's some info from my favorite source on these, the University of Notre Dame, "In March of 1787 the New York State Assembly took a stance restricting the circulation of lightweight coppers and rejecting all the petitions they had requested for permission to mint coppers. The two majors contenders for the minting rights took matters into their own hands. Thomas Machin and his partnership concluded an agreement with the Vermont mint and also began producing imitation British halfpence. The other major contender for the New York contract was the partnership of Ephraim Brasher and John Bailey. Brasher and Bailey also took matters into their own hands by privately minting Nova Eborac coppers (Nova Eborac being the Latin for New York). The coins were made to look like contemporary British and Connecticut coppers with an obverse portrait of a mailed bust facing right and wearing a laureal wreath with the legend "NOVA EBORAC." The reverse contained a seated figure of Liberty holding a branch in one hand and a liberty pole in the other with a shield below, similar to Britannia, with the legend "VIRT. ET LIB." (Virtue and Liberty) and the date 1787 in exergue. These coins were accepted and regularly used for they are usually found in well circulated condition. Their weight range is from 88 - 150 grains.

    All Nova Eborac coppers bear the date 1787. They are found in four varieties made from three obverse and four reverse dies. Anthony Terranova discovered punch link evidence associating these coppers to the Brasher doubloons, and Breen has shown them to be stylistically similar to coins by Brasher and Bailey as the New Jersey "Running Fox" (Maris 74-bb, 75-bb, 76-cc, 77-dd and 78-dd) and the New York "Excelsior" coppers." (Sellers pics)
    1787ne1.jpg 1787ne2.jpg 1787ne3.jpg 1787ne4.jpg
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  3. Mr.Q

    Mr.Q Well-Known Member

    I like the story behind the coin, and the coin also, thanks for sharing.
    CircCam, SensibleSal66 and MIGuy like this.
  4. INDE1977

    INDE1977 Well-Known Member

    Grrrrr. You beat me out on that one.
    Seriously though. Nice coin
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  5. Collecting Nut

    Collecting Nut Borderline Hoarder

    A very nice colonial coin that anyone would be proud to have in their collection.
    MIGuy likes this.
  6. BRandM

    BRandM Counterstamp Collector

    I agree with the others...very nice piece. Always loved colonials.

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  7. l.cutler

    l.cutler Member

    So many intriguing stories with these coins! I got my first state copper around 50 years ago and they still fascinate me!
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  8. MIGuy

    MIGuy Supporter! Supporter

    The intriguing stories and history are what holds my interest in coins, speaking of which, I love that Brasher was George Washington's neighbor in New York City - keep in mind that NYC was the Capital from 1789 - 1790 when Congress chose the District of Columbia for the national Capital (and to house the Capitol) - of course DC needed to be built up to that purpose so Philadelphia was designated as temporary federal Capital for 10 years. Anyway, Brasher is mostly famous for his rare gold "doubloons" but who was he? [More from U of ND] - Ephraim Brasher was a prominent New York City gold and silversmith who was often asked to weigh and verify the authenticity of foreign gold coins for customers. Several examples of foreign gold have been discovered counterstamped with the initials EB in an oval (examples can be found in the the Roper auction catalog). Apparently his stamp on a coin was taken as proof the item was of the proper weight and fineness. Breen discovered that Brasher's address in 1789-1790 was listed as number five Cherry Street in New York City, which was next door to George Washington's residence. It has been reported that in Washington's now lost household accounts there was an entry under April 17, 1790 stating Washington purchased four silver skewers from Brasher for £8 8s6d in New York currency. Brasher had a substantial reputation as an assayer. In November of 1792 with the assistance of David Ott he assayed several varieties if gold coins for the new federal government. Thereafter Brasher assisted assaying gold for the U.S. Mint.

    In 1787 Brasher appears to have joined with the New York silversmith and noted swordmaker, John Bailey in requesting a franchise to produce copper coins for the State of New York." Anyway, can you imagine - this gent lived next door to George Washington and they did business together. How cool is that? I wonder if they didn't occasionally have a meal or a bottle of wine too. These coins - for me - radiate American history and the earliest days of the American experiment. When I hold these coins, I feel connected directly to the folks that created them and used them in commerce. George Washington himself may have used these coins to make purchases - that's pretty amazing to consider.
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  9. Eduard

    Eduard Supporter**

    Thank you for sharing that interesting story behind the Nova Eborac coppers and for posting your example. That is a very nice Eborac copper you have there.

    I have examples of the two major Nova Eborac varieties in my small Pre-Federal collection - figures seated left and seated right. (I am not American or live in the U.S, but have a strong interest for the early history of your country).

    Nova Eborac Copper - 1787 - Figure seating RIGHT  - OBV:REV - 2015 - 2023 new.png Nova Eborac Copper - 1787 - Figure seating LEFT - VF30 - OBV:REV - 2021 - 2023 new.png
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  10. johnmilton

    johnmilton Well-Known Member

    NovaEboracOA.JPG NovaEboracR.JPG I have dabbled with a "colonial coin type set" for years. The one Nova Eborac copper I have is high grade. I bought this one raw and had NGC grade it. They called it AU-53.
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  11. l.cutler

    l.cutler Member

    Very nice coins here! I have one Nova Eborac and it is pretty "humble"!
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